What Are We Doing? – Report from Yasi

Worked out what this image is?

If you said, “A huge dirty ice cream” sorry! But if you said, “A coral growing on the top of a plastic drink bottle”, you won the prize. Yes, that’s one of the myriad of ugly objects deposited at Mission Beach NQ after cyclone Yasi.

What does it tell us?

Yasi was huge? That’s true.

Nature is wonderful at adapting? Also very true.

Humans still fail to see what they are doing to their beautiful nest? Even more true!

Many would say that the Great Barrier Reef is among the most beautiful places in Australia. Yet we still toss rubbish and know little of where it goes. On Brookes Beach NQ (one of many at Mission Beach), Ken and Thelma Gray have collected refuse for 16 years on most days. They recently joined a wonderful group of people known as Tangaroa Blue who clean up beaches across the Pacific and record their collections on a data base.

In seven months, these two beach goers have logged and categorized over 63,000 pieces of debris. In 16 years they have probably picked up over 800,000 pieces and it’s not slowing down. More importantly, the data shows that almost all of this debris comes from towns and boats; little these days is cast aside by beach visitors. Bottles with messages have washed up here from as far south as Victoria!

So next time you drop rubbish in the gutter, ask yourself if you would toss it into your beautiful Barrier Reef. That’s where some of it goes and our critters have to deal with it as best they can.

Published by